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Yamaha Unveils 2008 YZF-R6

Variable Intake Tract spreads power

The razor sharp handling of last year’s R6 blew us away, but it was let down by an engine that lacked power at real world rpm levels. For 2008, Yamaha introduces an all-new R6 that addresses this problem with a variable intake system first introduced on the 2007 R1 (a computer controlled intake tract length). Yamaha calls this YCC-I for Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake.

The new R6 features plenty of other new technology, as well. The bike is more than substantially upgraded, with changes to the engine, chassis, suspension and brakes.

The new engine not only has the ability to vary the intake length to aid both low rpm power and high rpm breathing, Yamaha revised the pistons and increased compression from 12.8-to-1 to 13.1-to-1. This should also improve torque down low. To further increase power, Yamaha attacked friction within the engine. Yamaha claims over 50 new friction-reducing changes in the 2008 R6 motor, including the use of wider crank bearings.

The fly-by-wire throttle system, already available on the prior R6 is claimed to be enhanced with improved fuel injection mapping.

Top to bottom – frame, swingarm,
and subframe

The 2008 R6 has an all-new frame with a thicker head pipe/headstock area, and swingarm pivot intended to improve balance that leads to more precise turn-in and increased corner speeds.

Working with the new frame is a new swingarm featuring internal ribs that aid the rigidity Yamaha was seeking while minimizing weight.

Speaking of weight, Yamaha took the rather extreme step of constructing its subframe (the structure supporting the seat) out of magnesium for 2008 — a rather exotic and expensive material that can form very strong but light structures.

A new titanium muffler contains an EXUP valve system to further broaden the powerband of the new R6. The new exhaust is also designed to meet ever tightening emissions regulations.

Yamaha claims that the already outstanding feedback provided by the current R6 is improved for 2008 in part by revised fork tubes and a new triple clamp design with increased fork off-set.

A slipper clutch on the new R6 helps control wheel hop on agressive downshifts.

Both the 41mm fork and rear shock feature four-way adjustability (preload, high-speed compression, low-speed compression, and rebound damping).

The new bodywork on the 2008 YZF-R6 is claimed to improve aerodynamics, both on the street and on the track.

New front brake discs are thicker (5mm vs. 4.5mm last year) to improve cooling. They are squeezed by forged one-piece, radial mount calipers powered by a radial-pump master cylinder.

The dry weight of the new 2008 R6 is actually a few pounds higher than last year’s claimed dry weight — probably related to emissions systems contained within the exhaust.

U.S. MSRP for the 2008 YZF-R6 is $9,599 for the standard colors, which include Team Yamaha Blue/White, Raven and Liquid Silver. For $9,799 you can opt for the Cadmium Yellow with Flames paint job. The new R6 will be available beginning in November of this year. For additional details and specifications, visit Yamaha’s web site here.